Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 – october 15
During Hispanic Heritage Month, the University of Florida College of Pharmacy celebrates the proud history and culture of our Hispanic and Latin American community. We are grateful for the many contributions they make to our college and the passion and joy they bring to higher education and health care.
Students in the UF College of Pharmacy share what Hispanic Heritage Month means to them and how they have overcome barriers and stayed motivated as pharmacy students.
Yuma Ortiz grew up in Wauchula, Florida, a small town in Florida’s rural heartland heavily supported by the agriculture industry. A sizable migrant worker and Latino community resides there. As a graduate student in the UF College of Pharmacy, Ortiz's research interests focus on the treatment of chronic pain, specifically chronic pain associated with cancer and chemotherapy. He has been involved with the College of Pharmacy’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the past year and has served a similar role on his department’s diversity and inclusion graduate student subcommittee. Ortiz celebrates his Mexican heritage through holiday observations and with proud reflection of his culture and family’s history. He proudly celebrates his academic accomplishments, as they provide evidence of achievement and excellence among Hispanics and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Joyce Hernandez-Maldonado is a proud Gator from Puerto Rico. As a third-year Pharm.D. student in the UF College of Pharmacy, she looks forward to contributing new perspectives with every group activity and conversation. She serves as vice president for the Organización Latina de Estudiantes en Farmacia, or OLEF, a student organization that promotes awareness of latinx/hispanic culture within the college and community. In addition, she took the initiative to create the Puerto Rico Prosthetics Research Program to bridge the interdisciplinary gap between the field of prosthetics and pharmacy, while promoting hispanic/latinx representation in the scientific community to improve patient outcomes. She learned to overcome the language barrier through hard work and dedication and is a firm believer that behind every accent, there is a story of a hardworking and passionate individual deserving of a seat at the UF College of Pharmacy.
Kevin Rios Martinez is a native of Puerto Rico and a University of Florida College of Pharmacy student in Orlando. As a student leader in the college, he is interested in promoting diversity and creating awareness about the needs of minority groups in the United States. At the Orlando campus, he serve as a student ambassador, which allows him to interact with prospective students from different backgrounds and also share with the community the efforts carried out by our various student organizations. He is a founding member and the first president of Organización Latina para Estudiantes de Farmacia, or OLEF, student organization in Orlando and also co-chair for APhA-ASP’s Operation Pride. As a UF student, he celebrates his Hispanic heritage by furthering opportunities to educate on how to better serve the patient populations of Hispanic and Latino origin in the United States.
Samantha Perez is a native of Miami. Her mom was born in Cuba, while her dad was born in Argentina. During her first year of pharmacy school, the Organizacion Latina de Estudiantes de Farmacia, or OLEF, was established on campus. As a founding member and the current president of the Hispanic organization, Perez is proud to represent the Latin community and display her passion for the pharmacy profession through its activities. OLEF creates opportunities to participate in Latin social events, Spanish medical terminology courses and provides point of care testing to the Hispanic population in Gainesville. Outside of pharmacy school, Perez enjoys cycling, going to the beach and spending time with family and friends.